Sunday, July 27, 2008

Everyone- Earthquake OK

So, a few days ago there was the worst earthquake since we came to Japan. Fortunately, though it was quite strong, and we certainly felt it, no one was hurt, and as far as I (Patrick) know, no property was damaged.

More updates soon, but I figured the safety announcement should come first.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sara-Fourth of July and Wanko soba

So this past weekend Risa and Jura came to visit us. On their first night, Friday, Catherine, Patrick and I took them to eat wanko soba. Wanko soba is basically a soba eating contest. My record best is 100 bowls, but that night I could only eat 90.

All together, we probably ate around 400 bowls.
Then on Saturday, Catherine organized a Fourth of July picnic dinner for us and our other ALT friends in the neighborhood.

We had a lot to eat and we had a lot of fun. After the picnic, we then went down to the river and lit up some sparklers.

Catherine is holding a 'senko' sparkler. You have to keep it very still and it is very pretty. As Martin said, it looks like a sparkling holly.
Then to finish off a fun night, we all went to a local Karaoke and sang for three hours or so.


This past weekend our Earlham friends, Risa and Jura, came to visit from Tokyo. During their time here, Patrick and I went to Miyako with them. Miyako is a small town on the coast and it's about 2 hours away by bus. We got bus tickets for 5,000 yen that was round trip and it included lunch, a boat tour, and local bus fair to get to the boat tour. Unfortunately I believe that this is just a limited summer deal. The food was great and the boat tour was amazing. It was an overcast day, but we had a lot of fun on the rocky beach and wandering the beautiful town.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Patrick- Pictures from the International Symposium

Here are some pictures from the International Symposium described in a previous post.

In this first picture, my principal is introducing the school:

Here, I am explaining a video that describes the day to day activities of the students:

And here I am actually teaching class:

And in this picture I am accepting a gift on behalf of the school from the representative from Vietnam:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Patrick- Field Trips at the Junior High

This week we had several field trips at the school. First, on Monday, the whole school went to a nearby park to draw and paint pictures of the landscape. They were given the entire day (8am-2pm) to do this. All students take art class for all three years of junior high school, and they had a brief trip to the park the week before to help them select what particular scene they wanted to sketch and paint and what perspective they wanted to do so from.

Then, today, first year students (and I) went to the river near the park to do basic botany. After identifying and cataloging as many plants as they could, they went to the park to study some more. Meanwhile, I and another teacher hid plastic animals by the river, which they were supposed to find. The catch was they had to stand on the sidewalk and look for what was fake; they couldn't get close to sift through things. They also only got ten minutes for this particular "game." Out of the 11 items, the best students could do was 7.

Meanwhile, the second year students visited various companies to see people working and learn about jobs. Both first and second year students only had morning trips; third year students, on the other hand, are off to another prefecture to plant trees as a service project and then study the relationship between the forest and the ocean.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Sara- This past weekend, Patrick, Catherine and I went to an ALT BBQ over at Iwaizumi, a town that's about 2 hours away by car/bus. There we met our friends Shannon, who is on Earlham's program, and Martin. Then we met the ALTs who were hosting, Caitlin, and Jeff. We had a great time. Patrick brought chips, Catherine made mac 'n cheese and sangria, and I made coleslaw. There was a lot of food and later we enjoyed lighting small fireworks. That night we spent at Jeff's family house.
The next morning, everyone but Jeff, who had work, went to Ryusendo Cave. It was very exciting and fascinating. I made a short video of it. After the cave, we went to another one just down the street. It was the science cave. The cave was real, but inside they painted some fake cave paintings from different parts of the world and there was a part where they had cavemen from Japan with Native American paintings in the background. It was very fun. Then on the way back we went to an ice cream shop that had very unusual flavors. I had Rose and Cherry blossom. It was delicious. Patrick had wasabi and pickled plum (umeboshi). The wasabi tasted like wasabi, just sweet as well-but it still burned in my opinion.